Monitor your energy output and fatigue
It can be difficult to assess how much energy you use on different tasks during the day, so it may be useful to monitor it and create a visual picture to help you see links with your fatigue. Create a chart to record your activities, when you do them, how long they take and the energy levels you use.
- Mark the activity as red when it’s a high-energy task. High energy is whatever you consider it to be – it could be physical (washing up, gardening), mental (office work) or emotional (family meetings).
- Colour the activity yellow if it’s low energy. This is when you’re doing something which isn’t using a lot of energy.
- Use green for rest time, for example when you’re reading or watching TV. During this time you’ll have a chance for recovery and won’t be using much energy.
- Use blue for sleep.
- When your fatigue is very noticeable (for example, you had to stop what you were doing, sit down or go to bed to rest), put a cross through the activity.
At the end of a week, look back at your diary and ask yourself these questions:
- Are there episodes when you were exhausted?
- Are these related to high-energy activities (boom and bust)?
- Are there long blocks of high-energy activity with no breaks?
- Is your sleep disturbed?
- Are you sleeping in the day?
- Is there enough time for enjoyment and recovery?
Use the information to give you a better idea of when you need to pace yourself and to help you to prioritise your time. Try planning the next few weeks and review your progress as you go. Your rheumatology nurse specialist or occupational therapist may be able to give you charts and work through the process with you.
Download our activity chart (PDF 128 KB) to help get you started.